Monday, September 10, 2012

Roll with it

     What a weekend! It had all the hallmarks of being an ordinary, "didn't ride as much as I wanted" weekend. Instead, I racked up 205 miles over two days, and got my ass handed to me at Frankenbike.

     The week had been less than stellar, riding just 2 of the five days so I was pinning a lot on the weekend. I rode Friday morning in the hopes of fitting in two rides, but it just wasn't to be. I still want to be a father and husband so I bagged the afternoon ride in favor of a family dinner and the wife and I working our way through season 5 of Dexter. It was a good evening and I was excited about the weekend cycling plans. Keith, a seasoned MTBer and I had planned for Saturday at Mohican with 24 miles of singletrack as our playground. Unfortunately, the threat of thunderstorms forced us to push to Sunday which opened up the day for me to plan a day-long ride. Then came the curveball.

     My wife scheduled an aerobics class for 9:15 on Saturday morning. My daughter had a friend sleeping over and I could not provide adequate parental supervision, or make pancakes, from sixty miles away. Improvisation demanded and delivered. I had a quilt and tent that needing sewing and I needed to learn how to sew. OK, I can adapt. My mother-in-law was hastily called in to teach me to sew on Saturday morning. Fine.

     Except Saturday morning my wife was home from aerobics at 9:30 from a class that doesn't end until 10:15. What the hell?! Suffice it to say, she did not attend. I'm sorry to say that I was more than a little annoyed and was feeling very self-righteous; something along the lines of "does she have no respect for what I trying to do?" I can't change the fact that I thought this, but I am thankful I did not give voice to these thoughts, and with a little reflection I realize just how much she is accomodating me and my lunacy; just another lesson in humility and perspective.

     So the net of all these changes was that I left for a ride around 11:30 with a brief stop at the Westerville Bike Shop to discuss cleat position and knee issues with Mike. And just in case I haven't said it before, Mason and Mike are awesome. Forget Trek, Roll, BicycleOne and BikeSource, if you want good advice that comes from a lifetime of riding and repairing bikes, go see Mason or Mike at the Westerville Bike Shop. They are not interested in getting rich. They just want everyone to ride a bike and enjoy it. Love those guys!
I had no firm plans on my route as I rolled out of Westerville, and I found myself taking the right-hand fork in Galena that leads to Sunbury. Then onto North Old 3C Highway which after two rights and two lefts leads to Centerburg and my old friend, the Heart of Ohio Trail. A few course deviations were required but I ended up riding to Fredericksburg and back, 180 miles and 90 minutes faster thant the first time I rode it. Hurrah! Even better, the cleat adjustment must have been spot-on as there was zero knee pain or soreness. This is welcome news. For the mileage I am planning, my position has to be near perfect. Any misalignment will manifest in a knee, an ankle, my lower back... I know that position is a moving target, and there will be adjustments from season-to-season, year-to-year, and bike-to-bike. It just feels good to be somewhere solid right now. Finally, I arrived home on Sunday morning just after 1:00. I was cold and tired. After 13 hours of riding, I had just 11 hours before Frankenbike started. Yeah, Keith and I settled on Frankenbike instead of Mohican. For me, it was somewhere around the 103-mile point. It was clearly a case of biting off more than I could chew.

     Sunday morning...I mean later Sunday morning, I wake before 7:00. Damn my body clock! Coffee, pasta, bibs into the washer and dryer, swap my rear tire for something with some tread, and off we go for who knows what. We arrive 20 minutes before the race (I mean ride!) begins. We make it in time to be treated to a truly magnificent pre-ride briefing. More f-bombs than you could shake a f***ing stick at put everyone in the right mood for what lay ahead. And oh, what lay ahead! Up or down, no flat for me! I weigh about 20 pounds more than Keith but that does not fully account for the difference in climbing speed. I would wager that he might be the best 220-pound climber you'll ever meet. And he is a gifted descender. He will defer and give credit to his full-suspension Salsa rig, but it's a lot more him than it is the bike. Unfortunately, I was cooked after 25 miles and did not (could not) go out for the second loop. I took a nap while Keith tackled the second 25. Yes, I was tired from the previous day's effort, but the real story is that I do not climb enough and I will pay for that at the AML. That is for sure. Credit to Mason and his crew for a great course and some great entertainment. Finally, Scioto Trails has some epic singletrack, and I highly encourage an excursion if you are in the area.

For the record, 283 miles (new high) for the week and a weigh-in of 236.2 pounds (new low).

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